Submitted to Branson Globe
According to a news release from Lt. Johnathan Tudor, public information officer at Taney County Ambulance District (TCAD), the exclusive ambulance transport provider for Taney County has been awarded both Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services and International Academy of Emergency Dispatch Accreditation, putting TCAD among the top ambulance services in the country.
In addition, TCAD Paramedics have one of the highest cardiac arrest save rates in the nation. The national average of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate is 4 percent. Because of TCAD’s aggressive public access defibrillation program, free hands-only CPR classes, progressive county-wide medical protocals and highly trained paramedics, Taney County has a 35 percent cardiac arrest survival rate.
With these impressive - and comforting - statistics, it’s worthwhile to get to know a little more about the ambulance service and paramedics serving the citizens of Taney County.
Established by a vote of the citizens of Taney County in 1976, the district is a political subdividion of the State of Missouri. Except for sharing the name, TCAD is not associated with Taney County government or any city within Taney County.
TCAD Paramedics is governed by a 6 member elected Board of Directors and operates on an annual budget comprised of a nearly 50/50 split between patient billing and sales tax revenue.
Board Members are elected to serve two year terms with elections alternating between various voting precincts in Taney County.
TCAD’s authority to operate exclusively in Taney County is protected by a county ordinance and Missouri State law helping TCAD to balance world-class ambulance service to both the urban areas and extremely rural areas of Taney County. Without this protection, ambulance service to some parts of the county would be so cost prohibitive that no ambulance company would be able to provide service.
Since TCAD is a separate entity from local governments and the hospital, TCAD Paramedics can transport a patient to any area hospital. The transport destination is the decision of the patient, except in critical or life threatening situations where the paramedics will transport to the most appropriate facility. Currently, TCAD offers transport from a scene (accident or medical emergency) to Cox Medical Center Branson, Cox South Hospital Springfield, Mercy Hospital Springfield, Cox North Hospital Springfield and North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison, Arkansas.
TCAD also provides patient transfer services from Cox Medical Center Branson. Patients are routinely transferred to other facilities for services that are not available locally.
Because of Medicare rules, TCAD or any other ambulance service cannot transport to Urgent Care centers or doctors offices. In some special circumstances, ambulances can be used for transport to doctors appointments, dialysis or other situations, but these require planning and coordination between the facility, TCAD and the patients insurance company.
TCAD bills for patient transport in accordance with Medicare and Medicaid standards. TCAD’s transport rates are set by the Board of Directors and can be found on the website www.TCAD.net/customers/patients. With very few exceptions, TCAD does not require upfront payment for services. TCAD will never require any type of payment or proof of insurance for emergency transport.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the ambulance services offered in Taney County, may call the district headquarters at 417-334-6586 to set up a time for a facility tour and to discuss further questions in detail. The paramedics at TCAD enjoy meeting the citizens they serve and look forward to showcasing equipment and facilities to anyone interested.
(Digital/Production Director Karen Halfpop contributed to this article)